Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton has cleared revocable waivers. That means he’s eligible to be traded to any team this month.
Passan makes an argument in his column that the Marlins should — must! — trade Stanton, with the idea being that Miami should sell its best player when he’s at the top of his game, thereby laying the groundwork for a substantial rebuild under new ownership. And Stanton certainly is at the top of his game. He’s healthy, he’s 27 and he’s on a 60-homer pace this season. It’s not hard to imagine a change of scenery for him, putting him on a contender, possibly in a hitter-friendly park (not that there are any parks that challenge his monster power), elevating him to a whole new height.
The biggest reason he cleared waivers, of course, is his massive contract, which is paying him $295 million over 10 years, with a potential opt-out for Stanton after 2020. Still, that may not seem all that unreasonable as time goes on and players such as Bryce Harper top $300 or $400 million. And given that price and possibility that he could be had in free agency in a couple of years if he opts out, he may not cost suitors as much as it might seem at first.
Still, it’s hard to imagine the Marlins trading the one player that people want to see when they come to the ballpark. One who is still young enough to bat in the middle of the lineup for an improved Marlins team in a couple of years if new ownership can convince him to stay. And even if they can’t, I suspect that new ownership will at least want to come online and see what they have before signing off on any major moves like that. And yes, you can assume that Derek Jeter and company are at least in the loop for such major moves before they actually take over, as trading Stanton would have a material impact on the value of the team they’re purchasing.
So: Stanton clearing waivers is interesting and the arguments for trading him may have merit, but I doubt anything happens with him during the season. In the winter, though: all bets are off.
Terry Collins is still the manager of the New York Mets, but all signs point to that state of affairs ending some time soon after Sunday afternoon. To that end, the New York Post reports a handful of familiar names being mentioned in connection with their impending managerial search:
Early persons of interest, according to industry sources, all have ties to the organization: Robin Ventura, Alex Cora and Kevin Long. Two others with ties to the organization — Bob Geren and Chip Hale — are also in the conversation, according to sources.
By the way: can we talk about how great it is that a term that is normally associated with criminal suspects — “persons of interest” — is being used in connection with potential future New York Mets managers? OK, we just talked about it.
These names, with the exception of Cora, all belong to former managers with Mets connections. Hale was the Mets third base coach and was passed over for the managerial gig when Collins was hired and eventually managed the Diamondbacks. Ventura, of course, played for the Mets for three seasons before retiring and becoming the White Sox’ manager. Geren was the Mets bench coach when they won the 2015 pennant but moved to the Dodgers to be closer to his family in California. He’s formally a manager with the Oakland A’s. Cora played a season and change with the Mets and has served as the bench coach for the Astros in the 2017 season.
In the recent past, as recently-retired players with little or no coaching or managerial experience were hired to manage teams, some people may have referred to these candidates as “retreads.” With Dusty Baker’s success in Washington after a few years of semi-retirement and with a number of inexperienced managers showing that they were not all that they were cracked up to be, however, the pendulum seems to be swinging back toward looking for experienced candidates.
Obviously the whole offseason will determine if I’m imagining that or if it does, in fact, becomes the trend. And, of course, the Mets actually have to formally let Collins go before hiring someone else. Not that I would put it past them to mess that up.
Back in May the Phillies gave Pete Mackanin a contract extension covering the remainder of 2017, all of 2018 and created a team option for 2019. Yesterday, however, Mackanin said he had no idea if the Phillies were going to bring him back as manager next season:
“I assume I’ll be here, but you never know. You never know what they’re going to do. So you just keep moving on. I just take it a day at a time and manage the way I think I should manage and handle players the way I think I should handle them. That’s all I can do. If it’s not good enough then … fine. I hope it’s good enough. I hope he thinks it’s good enough.”
Maybe that’s just cautious talk, though, as there doesn’t seem to be any signals coming from the Phillies front office that Mackanin is in trouble. If anything things have looked up in the second half of the season with the callups of Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams each of whom have shown that they belong in the bigs. The team is 33-37 since the All-Star break and is certainly a better team now than the one Mackanin started with in April. And it’s not his fault that they don’t have any pitching.
I suspect Mackanin will be back next year, but Mackanin has been around the block enough times to know that nothing is guaranteed for a big league manager. Even one under contract.